Tuesday 11 May 2021
  • :
  • :

Mistrust at the tap

…as public choose costly bottled over tap water


Although the city regularly tests its water supply to ensure it’s safe for consumption, some residents remain skeptical.
The skepticism has forced many Windhoek residents to fork out extra money for bottled water.
Environmentalists have cautioned that bottled water consumption is a bad habit because of the environmental consequences.
Although the City of Windhoek insists that the tap water they provide is safe, widespread mistrust of its quality has fuelled the growing consumption of bottled water.
The Goreangab Waste Treatment Plant is where most of the waste water from Windhoek’s 300, 000 residents end up. But it is not your run-of-the mill sewage plant; it is the first stop in the City’s pioneering water recycling system and has been recycling waste water for almost 50 years.
Director of Water Resource Management at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Maria Amakali says the reason why the majority turned to bottled water is that there is a misconception that tap water is not safe
She added that the quality thereof[tap water] is often not high enough for the public to accept it as a primary source of potable water, therefore there is a high demand for bottled water with a known and consistent quality.
The water may be offered as no-carbonated “still” water or as carbonated “sparkling” water with or without permitted substances, and all of the above may also be offered as unflavoured or flavoured water. The choice whether to carbonate or flavour the water ultimately depends on the producer according to observed consumer demand of the product. During the production or bottling process extreme care must be taken to ensure that no waste products are allowed to be discharged in a way that may contaminate the bottled water source and that’s what makes bottled water safe for people consumptions.
“However in Namibia, supplied drinking water conforms to Drinking Water Quality Standards. Bottled water comes in different types; it can be a matter of choice where people prefers still water, sparkling/carbonated water, flavoured or non-flavoured, mineral water, natural water, processed water all those are available in shops” explained Amakali.
She added: “What is important is that they must adhere to set product requirement as per different laws and regulations, the product shall have a pleasant characteristic and palatable flavor which shall be in accordance with any claim referring to flavour made or implied on the label no off-odors and off-flavours shall be present.”
“Please note that bottled water is considered food and can expire, the bottles are labeled for that reference and whatever else is contained therein, Namibia Standard Institute controls the bottled water from labels to content. The Ministry controls all drinking water to ensure that it adheres to drinking water standards,” Amakali further noted.
Bottled water are not as cheap as people think, it costs about N$15 per liter of water from the shop while Namwater or Windhoek Municipality charges between N$ 12-24 per 1000 liters of water (domestic users). Prepared water from Spar or OK costs cheaper because you are taking your own container and they are just filtering them. Another misconception –  compare your prices what you pay the municipality and what you pay the shop – bottled water is way more  expensive, Amakali concluded.

Goreangab dam
Everything is done biologically, by the organism. The bacteria help digest the human waste and pull it out of the water, essentially mimicking what happens in nature but a whole lot faster.
The plant was originally designed to treat 27,000 cubic meters [of sewage] a day, but now sometimes during peak hours it runs 41,000 cubic meters a day, way more than it was designed for. That’s because Windhoek is bigger now than it was back then.
The system or process of waste water recycle started when the country received minimal rainfall because before the mid-1900s Windhoek got most of its water from nearby springs.  However they dried up and without much rain it seemed that the only way to keep up with the demand was by taking the radical step of reusing the City’s waste water
The idea of sewage recycling in Namibia draw a lot of attention, Goreangab gets a lot of visitors yearly from countries facing water shortages interested to know more about the water reclamation process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *